If The Passion Is Gone From Your Relationship, You'll Notice These 4 Things
Passion is a fickle fellow in relationships. At the start of something new, its presence is undeniable, constant, and seemingly ever-growing. The smallest interactions with someone feel explosive. A casual brush of their hand on your lower back feels electric. Over time, however, as you become more comfortable together, that fiery brand of passion tends to naturally calm down somewhat. But how do you know when the passion is gone from your relationship completely? And what do you do about it?
First, let’s define what passion looks like in a relationship. In 1986, social psychologists Elaine Hatfield and Susan Sprecher published a report in the Journal of Adolescence outlining a Passionate Love Scale that details a number of important qualities for measuring it. According to Hatfield and Sprecher, the cognitive components of passion include being preoccupied with thoughts about your partner and idealizing them and/or your relationship. The emotional components include feeling good when things go well in your relationship and feeling bad when things go badly, being sexually attracted to your partner, and wanting a complete and permanent union. Lastly, the behavioral components of passion include trying to figure out how your partner feels, providing service to your partner, and being physically close to your partner.
Obviously, passion is a lot more complicated than mere lust, because it encompasses much more than sexual attraction. Concerned that your relationship may be suffering in this department? According to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, you might want to keep a lookout for these common signs that it’s time to recapture the passion.
Gifts have been more practical than romantic.
We all have different gift-giving tendencies in our relationships — some couples opt only to exchange presents on Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries, while others like to offer their boo trinkets on random occasions just because. Regardless of how you and your SO do things in this regard, take note of the kinds of presents you’re exchanging. Masini says if your presents are purely practical rather than romantic, then the spark may be waning.
While there’s nothing wrong with a practical gift, there’s something to be said for surprising your significant other with something purely indulgent, like a bouquet of their favorite flowers, concert tickets, or a bottle of champagne for no particular reason. These are the presents that evoke passion because they not only express your appreciation for bae’s specific preferences and unique interests, but they show that you were thinking about them in a way that has nothing to do with practical needs.
You’re making less of an effort.
Back in the early phase of dating, you may have spent a ton of time picking out the perfect outfit for dinner and making sure your hair looked flawless even if your boo was just coming over to watch a football game. Now, you can’t remember the last time you bothered to change out of your leggings. Let’s be clear: It’s pretty normal to make a tad more effort into your appearance at the beginning of your relationship. After all, once you get comfortable with someone, you start to feel reassurance that they love you whether or not you did your makeup that day, and TBH, that’s a wonderful thing. But according to Masini, if you and your partner have totally thrown in the towel on keeping up your appearance, that’s a red flag.
“If you’ve both stopped trying to look good for each other, it’s because you don’t feel passion in the relationship,” she explains. “Because if you do, you’ll want to look appealing and alluring for your partner.”
If your grooming habits have completely fallen by the wayside lately, ask yourself why you're putting in less effort.
Your weekends no longer include QT as a couple.
Depending on the nature of your work schedule, your weekends are likely the time for you to kick back and do what you enjoy most. And if you aren’t making room for quality time with your partner — whether that means a date night out, or a cozy night in to snuggle and watch movies — that may be a sign that the spark is lacking.
“Couples who feel passion towards each other want to soak up their weekend time together,” Masini tells Elite Daily. “So if you and/or your partner are making plans with friends, or family, without each other, chances are, there’s a passion deficit at work.”
That’s not to say you have to spend your entire weekend with your SO — it’s super important to maintain your relationships with friends and family as well. That said, your boo should factor in somewhere. And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what you do on your weekends together. Even if you’re just sleeping in and making brunch, the point is that you’re choosing to spend some of that time to strengthen your bond as a couple.
You no longer brag or speak highly about your partner to others.
My boyfriend and I often joke that our friends and family must be rolling their eyes on the inside by this point, because we can’t help but gush about each other. And this wasn’t just a tendency at the beginning of our relationship when we were first falling in love. To this day, each of us still likes to brag if the other one made a thoughtful gesture, accomplished something impressive at work, or did something totally hilarious. I never gave much thought to the significance of this habit, but Masini says that when you stop doing that, it can definitely be a red flag.
“If you find that all your references to your partner are put-downs or complaints, chances are, you’ve lost the spark,” she adds. “Passionate couples want their friends and family to know how great their partner is, and they glow when they talk about their partners.
Pay attention to how you talk about your boo to other people — if it’s hardly ever about anything positive, that could indicate that you’ve lost some of the passion that inspires you to boast about them.
According to Masini, the more time that passes in a relationship, the more effort you may need to put in to sustain the passion.
“The more familiar you are with each other the more difficult it is to keep the mystique that nourishes passion,” she explains. “People don’t realize how much work relationships are, and that passion requires energy to keep it going. There are things you can do to promote passion in a relationship — but if you do nothing, chances are, it will fade.”
Beyond just familiarity and comfortability, Masini says there are other issues that can compromise passion.
“Over time, partners can become resentful over little (or big) issues that go unaddressed or unresolved,” she adds. “This resentment can build into a barrier to passion. Brushing issues under the rug, not spending time on them, or not finding a mutually agreeable solution will affect your relationship in the passion department — even when the issues have nothing to do with love and sex.”
If you feel like the passing is lacking, Masini says the first step is to figure out why — and then start doing something about it ASAP. The good news? It’s definitely possible to re-ignite the spark if you make passion a priority. That may mean surprising your SO with a thoughtful gift once in a while, putting in some extra effort while getting ready on date night or making more time on the weekends to re-connect with them. As long as both you and your boo put in the necessary effort to re-discover why you’re together, you can ramp up the heat in no time.